TOWN OF WATERFORD -- After more than a day on the ice of Tichigan Lake in the Town of Waterford, a stranded seven-point buck is free. He was safe on solid ground by mid-morning on Thursday, November 29th -- and returned to the wild.
The deer got stuck on Wednesday. It was seen trying to get off the ice, but slipped and fell while trying.
The Tichigan Volunteer Fire Department made several attempts to help the struggling animal. Thin ice hindered that rescue. But the crew did not give up.
Around 10 a.m. Thursday, two people from the Tichigan Volunteer Fire Dept. and state DNR ventured out onto the ice with a sled in tow. Within about 40 minutes, they were able to tie the animal's legs, put it on the sled and drag it back to shore.
"It was almost as if he knew that we were there to help him," said Bob Zortman of the Tichigan Volunteer Fire Dept. "We were just monitoring it, trying to make sure it wasn't going to struggle and try and get up again."
Once close to land, the crew removed the rope from the deer's legs, held its horns and then released it back to the wild.
"We pulled him the last few feet to the shore, make sure he could stand up and then the deer loped off," said Zortman.
The deer did not get injured during the rescue. Crews noticed a scrape near the deer's shoulder. It's believed to be the result of a bow hunting injury.